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JustHere | January 24, 2017

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Cleansing of Doha: The Old Downtown Disappears

Cleansing of Doha: The Old Downtown Disappears
Eva Levesque

The Lego game in and around the Msheireb area continues. Shopkeepers wait restlessly for customers to come in and purchase what’s left of the inventory.

In Doha’s march towards complete urbanisation, smart grid-like streets and tall, spacious buildings will soon replace narrow alleys and crumbly buildings around the city.

JustHere visited the establishments around Msheireb to get a closer look at what is happening around the area. While power supply to most shops has been discontinued for a while now, shopkeepers struggle to get the remainder of their inventory moving. Many of them have drastically slashed prices, far below even a breakeven price.

On the other side, businesses haven’t yet received evacuation notice, but staff at some places such as the well-known Pakistan Sweets say that they have heard that it might be their turn to shut down next.

Some store owners have already found alternate places to relocate their businesses to, others haven’t been as fortunate. High rents and other overhead costs are the main factors that discourage them.

Owner of Ruby Textiles, Mohammed says: “Businesses used to prosper here. Now that they’re demolishing the shops, what can we do? We bought a shop in Barwa Village, but that ran a loss, we had to shut it down. I’m going on vacation soon to India. Once I return, I will think about my next step. Allah kareem. God is great. When one door closes, three doors open.”

(Text by Sukanya Seshadri)

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